Canon EOS 6D review:

Canon EOS 6D

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Typical Price: £1,600.00
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CNET Editors' Rating

1 user review

The Good Image quality; Full frame sensor; Built in wifi; Built in GPS.

The Bad Limited autofocus points; No built-in flash.

The Bottom Line It isn't pocket money, but the EOS 6D nonetheless puts full-frame features within reach of the more ambitious enthusiast photographer. I'd have happily swapped the GPS and Wifi for more autofocus points, but it's nonetheless a great body that captures great colours and very detailed shots.

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8.8 Overall

Canon's DSLR line-up is becoming increasingly busy. As well as the so-called 'beginners' range, which now comprises four traditional DSLRs and the mirrorless EOS M, it's got so many pro and semi-pro models that it's had to split the upper part of its range in two, for 'enthusiasts' and professionals'.

The EOS 6D is the newest entrant in this upper portion, and sits among the enthusiasts cameras, beside the EOS 60D and EOS 7D and will, in many peoples' eyes, be immediately more appealing than either of those on account of the size of its sensor.

Specs and features

It's built around a 20.2 megapixel full-frame sensor putting out 5472 x 3648 pixel images. Being full-frame there's naturally no crop factor, so you don't need to multiply up your lens' focal length to work out how it compares to a 35mm camera. It also means, though, that if you're upgrading from a consumer model like the EOS 650D, you won't be able to take your EF-S lenses with you, so you may as well trade in the whole bundle.

Detail test
The Canon EOS 6D has a full frame sensor, so you don't need to perform any conversion to work out how lenses compare to one another.

The trouble is, Canon's DSLR line-up is becoming increasingly crowded, and it feels very much like it's had to dampen some of the most exciting features simply to stop it compromising the EOS 5D Mark III. That model barely beats it on resolution, with a full-frame, 22 megapixel sensor, but ups the autofocus point count from a fairly hum-drum 11 to a far more impressive 61, and increases the maximum burst speed from 4.5 frames per second to six.

At the opposite end of the range, it's also missing the 650D's fold out screen, which is perhaps a more serious consideration for upgrading consumers. If you want a camera you can use outdoors, shooting from less conventional angles, rather than a largely tripod-mounted studio camera, an articulated display makes an enormous different to the level of creativity in your resulting shots.

In return, though, Canon has added a couple of extra features, including built-in GPS and wifi. The former tags your photos with the locations in which they were shot so you can position them on a map when you get back to base, while the latter lets you connect the camera to your smartphone, PC or Mac, for sharing images and remote control.

Detail test
There's no built-in flash, so if you want to add one you'll have to attach a Speedlite to the hotshoe.

These features take space, so there's no built-in flash, which for a lot of users won't be an issue anyway -- particularly not if you use studio lighting in a controlled environment, or you're happy to buy an external Speedlite for the hotshoe.

So, it's mixed news on some of the specs, but where it really matters -- performance and usability -- it scores highly.

Stills performance

I paired it with a 24 - 105mm f/4 stabilised zoom for my tests and set the camera to aperture priority so I could control the depth of field while it took care of other shooting parameters. Output is naturally dependent on your choice of lens. In my case, at wide angle there was evidence of clear vignetting at the corners of the frame, which can be corrected in post production tools like Lightroom and Aperture, and isn't inherent to the camera body itself.

Detail test

There was some obvious vignetting when shooting at wide angle with the lens used in these tests (click image to enlarge).

Colours are very punchy. I performed my tests on a sunny, largely cloud-free day, and the EOS 6D filled the frame with a spectrum of bright, realistic colours. Skies were a rich blue, grass was lush green, and flowers positively burst with colour. Shooting flowers in direct sunlight can sometimes be problematic due to reflections from shiny petals, but it wasn't an issue for the EOS 6D, which did an excellent job of minimising this effect for an impressive performance overall.

Detail test

The EOS 6D did a great job of reproducing punchy colours in sunny conditions (click image to enlarge).

More muted tones were handled with equal aplomb. The headstone below is largely grey and green, but it's filled with detail, with the texture of the flat surfaces clearly picked out. Transitions between areas of similar tone are smooth and subtle.

Detail test

More muted tones were also well handled, with gentle transitions between similar colours, and plenty of detail in the flat stone (click image to enlarge).

It handles sharp contrasts very well, with the magnolia petals below cleanly picked out against the blue sky. The 24 - 105mm lens with which I tested it didn't introduce any chromatic aberration into the frame, so the result was free of fringing and third colours that aren't visible in real life to the naked eye.

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